The forefront of ovarian cancer therapy: update on PARP inhibitors

Mirza MR (1), Coleman RL (2), González-Martin A (3), Moore KN (4), Colombo N (5), Ray-Coquard I (6), Pignata S (7)
(1) Department of Oncology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
(2) Department of Gynecologic Oncology & Reproductive Medicine, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA
(3) Medical Oncology Department, Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Madrid, Spain
(4) Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, USA
(5) Division of Medical Gynecologic Oncology, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy
(6) Centre Léon Bérard, University Claude Bernard Lyon I, Lyon, France
(7) Department of Urology and Gynecology, Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS Fondazione G. Pascale, Napoli, Italy

Background: In recurrent ovarian cancer, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP)-inhibiting agents have transformed the treatment of platinum-sensitive disease. New data support use of PARP inhibitors earlier in the treatment algorithm.

Design: We review results from recent phase III trials evaluating PARP inhibitors as treatment and/or maintenance therapy for patients with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer. We discuss the efficacy and safety of these agents in the all-comer and biomarker-selected populations studied in clinical trials, and compare the strengths and limitations of the various trial designs. We also consider priorities for future research, with a particular focus on patient selection and future regimens for populations with high unmet need.

Results: Four phase III trials (SOLO-1, PAOLA-1/ENGOT-OV25, PRIMA/ENGOT-OV26 and VELIA/GOG-3005) demonstrated remarkable improvements in progression-free survival with PARP inhibitor therapy (olaparib, niraparib or veliparib) for newly diagnosed ovarian cancer. Differences in trial design (treatment and/or maintenance setting; single agent or combination; bevacizumab or no bevacizumab), patient selection (surgical outcome, biomarker eligibility, prognosis) and primary analysis population (intention-to-treat, BRCA mutated or homologous recombination deficiency positive) affect the conclusions that can be drawn from these trials. Overall survival data are pending and there is limited experience regarding long-term safety.

Conclusions: PARP inhibitors play a pivotal role in the management of newly diagnosed ovarian cancer, which will affect subsequent treatment choices. Refinement of testing for patient selection and identification of regimens to treat populations that appear to benefit less from PARP inhibitors are a priority.

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